Soon after the Pixel 2 phones were unveiled in early October, Google revealed that the phones have a dormant feature that was not ready for mass consumption at launch. The Pixel Visual Core is Google’s custom co-processor meant to improve image processing and machine learning features on the device. At the time, Google said the chip will be enabled via a software update in the near future.
That day has finally come. Android 8.1 Oreo is available for download on compatible Pixel and Nexus devices. In addition to enabling the Pixel Visual Core, the Android 8.1 update brings over a slew of improvements and other features.
Google focused on the Android Oreo (Go edition) in its announcement, an Android 8.1 version based on Oreo that was customized to run on Google’s entry-level Android Go phones.
“We’re excited to announce that this software experience—Android Oreo (Go edition)—is ready, and launching as a part of the Android 8.1 release tomorrow,” Google said.
But Android users who own a Pixel or Nexus device are probably a lot more interested in the final Android 8.1 release that should be available on your device in the coming days.
Aside from the Pixel Visual Core, Android 8.1 Oreo brings over a fix for the Pixel 2 and Nexus 5X audio problems, a new color menu in the Display settings for the Pixel 2 phones, a fix for that massive hamburger emoji error that kept some Googlers up at night, as well as other improvements. Android 8.1 Oreo also comes with new neural networks APIs that will allow phones to make the most of their AI chips if they have one. Phone Arena compiled a quick changelog of the new features available in Android 8.1.
Sadly, most Android users will have to keep waiting for Android 8.1 to roll out, as Android 8.0 is barely ready to roll out on a limited number of devices, and today’s update is only available for Pixel and Nexus devices.